We're having a birthday for THE LOW ROAD, the 16th McLaren mystery, and we're giving the presents!
This giveaway begins on September 1, 2022 and continues until 7:00 pm CDT on September 20, 2022 when the four winners' names will be drawn.
To enter this giveaway, answer the question below -- the answer will be found in the excerpt following the "Giveaway Bundles" information. Click on the yellow "Mail" icon to the right of the excerpt question, then type your answer into the email form, and send the email. It will automatically be sent to me. Correct answers received by 7:00 pm CDT on September 20, 2022 will be eligible for the random drawings.
Giveaways consist of four separate bundles. Drawings will be random and entrants can not specify which gift bundle he/she wants. One entry per person.
THE LOW ROAD synopsis:
Former police detective Michael McLaren arrives in Scotland, ready to immerse himself in the fun of the Highland Games and to enjoy a holiday with Melanie. But the old saying of plans oft going awry rears its ugly head: Simon Shaw, a member of McLaren's folk group, dies. Murdered a year to the day following his uncle's death.
McLaren is determined to find out who killed Simon. Needing justice for his friend is only half of his incentive. He also needs to appease his guilt for suggesting the group sing there in the first place.
As McLaren becomes immersed in the investigation, he wonders if the two deaths are linked, or have to do with the family or their clan. Perhaps Simon's former wife killed him, bent on revenge more powerful than mere divorce.
Or was the killing tied to an old hunt for diamonds? After all, diamonds aren't only a girl's best friend. Sometimes they birth greed and murder. And entrap the innocent.
#1: A quaich (pronounced 'quake'). A two-handled cup used for toasting. It symbolizes love, friendship and trust.
To drink from it: pour a small amount of liquid into the cup. Both people stand, facing each other, and each pick up the cup with their right hands and hold it. One person drinks (the woman or the guest), both still holding the cup, then the other person drinks, both still holding the cup. They are sipping from opposite sides of the cup. When finished, they set the cup down and release their holds.
This quaich is made in the UK of brass and copper. The quaich appears in THE LOW ROAD. Also to be given is a small Celtic pendant necklace and an autographed copy of the book.
#2: An autographed / annotated copy of THE LOW ROAD.
Also, a Luckenbooth thistle brooch.
#3: A rose quartz necklace (appears in the book),
bangle bracelets, and an autographed copy of the book.
#4: A jade necklace (appears in the book)
and an autographed copy of the book.
Excerpt - read to find the answer to the question "What floated through the open window?"
"If Grandfather welcomes me, then he welcomes you. But yes, he is a dear, if you can get past his gruff exterior. As you saw when we entered the house, it's his castle and he glorifies the days of the MacLaren clan."
"Nothing wrong with that."
"True. At least he doesn't go around with a broadsword at his side or constantly play his bagpipe."
"Would he play for me, do you think?" She said it so quickly that McLaren couldn't mistake the hope in her voice.
"He doesn't have one. At least, not that I know of. But he could've picked it up and might play it while he's herding chickens or trudging through the snow."
"I doubt it. I'm just having fun with you and with him. But I don't put it past him to do that or something equally as..."
"Fun? Sensible? Timesaving?"
"Could be all of those but I was thinking of loopy. Anything could've happened in the thirty-plus years of my absence from Scotland, including taking up the pipes. No, don't pout. You'll have heard enough bagpipe music and seen enough kilted men in the next two days to last you for years, I don't doubt."
"Speaking of kilts..." Melanie shifted her position slightly to lean forward as she looked at him. "Did you bring yours?"
McLaren shook his head. Seeing the optimism in her eyes, he wished he had rented one somewhere. "Sorry to disappoint you. I don't have one. And even if I did, I wouldn't wear it. There are only so many things the public can stand to see, and my knees aren't one of them. You'll have to make do with other people's attire."
"It will be difficult, but I'll do my best." She scrunched up her lips and her eyes narrowed, taking in his form. Hope colored her voice and she spoke slowly, as though needing to delay her disappointment should his reply not be what she wanted. "But you have a MacLaren tartan shirt, or at least something of that ilk, I hope."
"Save the mark, I've struck out twice, now. Nope. No tartan anything. Just my usual threads." He glanced at his navy-blue shirt, saw there was a tuft of dog hair on it, and deposited it in the waste bin.
"Nothing wrong with your shirt, Mike. I just thought you'd be more...Scottish up here."
As if on cue, the lonesome wail of a bagpipe floated through the open window.
Melanie rushed to the window and stared in the direction of the sound, as if expecting to see the piper on the lawn. "How lovely." She gripped the interior windowsill as she leaned forward, then turned to McLaren. There was no way to miss the excitement in her eyes. "What a nice welcome. Thank you."
He joined her at the window and peered out. The air held the scent of late-blooming roses and damp grass. "Although I'd like to take credit," he said, his voice close to her ear, "I had nothing to do with this. Either Grandfather or Uncle set this up, is my guess."
"Well, whoever did it, it's wonderful. Oh, Brandon." She turned at the knocking on the door jamb. A man slightly shorter than McLaren stood there, his neatly-trimmed mustache and hair revealing a peppering of grey. Crow's feet were only discernible if he turned his head so that the light slanted across his skin. Otherwise, his general physique belied his fifty-five years. "Brandon, we were just talking about the bagpiper. We assume you're responsible. If so, thank you."
"I don't mean to interrupt." The voice came from behind McLaren, who turned to see his uncle. "I just wanted to see if Melanie needed anything before I retire for the night."
"Uncle Brandon," McLaren said, letting the curtain fall closed. "Your piper is quite good. I couldn't have thought of a better welcome."
"Right, the piper. Your grandfather and I heard it downstairs and we wondered where the music was coming from."
"Wondered?" His uncle's admission startled McLaren, and he leaned out the window as much as he dared, trying to see beyond the sides of the house. When he saw no one, he turned back, and sagged against the edge of the sill. "How odd. You didn't set this up?"
"Unfortunately, I didn't think this far ahead. The music's none of my doing. Nor your grandfather's," he added hurriedly as McLaren opened his mouth. "We were just talking about who it might be outside and thinking you had hired the bloke to play for Melanie."
McLaren shrugged, trying to think of another explanation. "Strange that none of us knows about this piper. It's no one left over from the Games today, I take it."
"Participating in some strange ritual? I hardly think so."
"I'll find out, shall I?"